Saturday, April 17, 2021

Why are you full of doubt and fear?

"Then Jesus said to them [Apostles], “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?" (Luke 24: 38).

Sunday 18th April 2021, in the 3rd Week of Easter.

Do you suffer from fear, worry and doubt? Every human being does. Psalm 56 says: "When I fear, I will trust in God. In God whose word I praise. In God whose word I trust. In God I put all my trust fearing nothing. What can mortal man do to me?" (Psalm 56: 3 - 4, 10 - 11, 13).

My friend, the cure for fear, worry and doubt is in Psalm 56. For many years, I used this maxim to combat fear, worry and doubt:  When I feel afraid, I shout: No fear. No worry. No doubt. It worked for me. In Easter Season 2021, I have updated my response to the three killer spiritual monsters with an acronym: TOS: TRUST. OBEDIENCE. SURRENDER.

Ask Jesus to give you your response to fear, worry and doubt.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, April 16, 2021

This is Jesus. Do not be afraid.

"But Jesus said to them [Apostles], “It is I. Do not be afraid.” (John 6: 20).

Saturday 17th April 2021, in the 2nd Week of Easter.

Jesus said to the Apostles who panicked on seeing Him walking on the sea towards their boat: “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Jesus puts them at ease by identifying Himself: "It is I." This expression could mean "I AM." His word, the self identification of Yahweh was enough to calm their nerves.

A word from God is enough to bring light, courage, peace and joy to our hearts. Once upon a time, I spent a night alone in a house in the countryside. The house had a wall round it with a gate. There were fruit trees in the backyard. About 1 am in the morning, I heard a large thud that sounded like some heavy person had jumped into the yard. I was deeply frightened. I sat on the bed in cold sweat wondering what to do. "Look for a heavy object like metal or wood to defend myself." At that moment, I heard these words in my heart:
"If the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain do the sentries defend it."

The full Verse is this:
"Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain." (Psalm 127: 1).
This is one of my favorite verses in the Scriptures. The Lord used the same Scripture I repeat so often to bring me peace that dark night.

Jesus used the Scripture I know to identify Himself." "I AM here. Do not be afraid." I went back to sleep and did not turn till about 7 am. When I checked the backyard to see what happened, I saw that it was a large breadfruit that had fallen down.

Jesus says to us always:
"It is I. Do not be afraid!" God is in His word. Those who memorize their favorite Scriptures are on to something very important. You do not know when they will come handy.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Peter and John rejoiced to suffer abuse for the name of Jesus.

"After recalling the apostles [Peter and John], they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." (Acts 5: 40 - 41).

Friday 16th April 2021, in the 2nd Week of Easter.

The first Reading in today's Liturgy from Acts 5: 34 - 42 is probably one of the strongest passages in post Easter catechesis.
Our key Scripture Acts 5: 40 - 41 shows Peter and John passing the test of discipleship with flying colors.  After they were flogged severely with 40 lashes, they rejoiced that "they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." Jesus taught that the disciple rejoice for suffering persecution for His name and consider himself blessed for doing so. For Peter and John, the teaching of Jesus is no longer theory, they now possess a strong material for testimony. "We did it."

The second Scripture from the first Reading, you may call the Gamaliel Principle. Gamaliel was one of the most important Doctors of Sacred Scripture at this time. He was a teacher of St. Paul. He enunciated a principle, a word of wisdom to guide the Supreme Court of Israel on how to handle Peter and John. Options may be: Torture and kill them? Torture and long prison sentences with heavy labor? Below is the counsel of Gamaliel:

"So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him." (Acts 5: 38 - 39).

I have used the Gamaliel Principle for discerning God's will. It has often brought me wisdom and peace. About rejoicing in being made to suffer for the name of Jesus, I am beginning to appreciate this and with the help of the Holy Spirit will get it.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

"But Peter and [John] the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5: 29).

Thursday 15th April 2021, in the 2nd Week of Easter.

We must obey God rather than men. A great Christian principle is laid down by the Apostle Peter. This Christian principle will lead many Christians to martyrdom including Peter and all the Apostles.

What is Obedience? Obedience comes from the Latin word "oboedire" which can be translated  as listening to the one speaking to you. We understand this when God complains through His prophets that His people do not listen to His voice. They refused to listen to Him. A child who does not listen to his parents will never obey them. The child does not want the parents to stop his planned course of behavior.

Those who did not listen to God and disobeyed Him include:
Adam and Eve, Saul, the first king of Israel, King Ahaz and a line of rebellious kings after him. God says that disobedience is a criminal offense:

"Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. ” (1 Samuel 15: 3). God rejected Saul the first king of Israel because of his disobedience.
"So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

Those who obeyed God:
We must mention first our Leader and Captain, Jesus Christ. He obeyed the Father unto death and set us an example as a faithful and true Witness [Martyr].

Obedience often results in severe persecution. Examples: John the Baptist, the Apostles, Pope St Martin I, St Thomas More, etc. The Roman Martyrology is the record of known martyrs. In its unupdated form, it is bursting with the names of women and men who gave their lives for Jesus. Most of them would not have been condemned if they had chosen to disobey Jesus and obey the worldly powers.

How can you prepare yourself to obey God? Remember the meaning of Obedience. Start with a willingness to listen to God. Commit yourself to listening to God in the Holy Scriptures every day. Through this exercise, the Holy Spirit will transform your mind. A transformed mind is able to discern the will of God in everything. (See Romans 12: 2).
Pray daily for grace to hear God and obey Him.

Ask God daily for the gift of His Awesome Spirit. We hear from Jesus in today's Gospel that the Father does not ration His Spirit. You receive the Holy Spirit in direct proportion to your desire and preparation for the Gift.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Yes Lord, I will share Your Gospel with my brothers and sisters.

"But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them [Peter and John] out, and said,  “Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.” (Acts 5: 19 - 20).

Wednesday 14th April 2021, in the 2nd Week in the Easter Season.

A note in the margin of the Daily Roman Missal for Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Easter reads: "Mission/Purpose Wednesday." Why? The Scriptures for this Wednesday are replete of Mission statements. Peter and John discovered in Acts 5: 19 - 20, that when God anoints you for a mission, no force on earth can stop you. Did not God promise:

"I have set in front of you an open door that no one can shut." (Revelation 3: 8 CEB).

In the Gospel of today, we are urged to proclaim the Good News to everyone, everywhere in the world:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (John 3: 16).

Our response to the divine invitation to come forward and participate in the work of evangelization is proposed for us in the Entrance Antiphon:

"I will be a witness to You in the world O Lord.  I will spread the knowledge of your name among my brothers, Alleluia! " (Psalm 18:50;  22 :23 RM)

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, April 12, 2021

Feast of Pope St Martin I, Intrepid Witness.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony." (John 3: 11).

Tuesday 13th April 2021, in the 2nd Week of Easter is the feast of Pope St Martin 1. Italian. Pope and Martyr. St Martin suffered martyrdom because of his defense of the truth that Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% Man. Emperor Constans II got him arrested and exiled him to Crimea where he suffered much abuse and humiliation. Martin wrote from prison: “For forty-seven days, I have not been given water to wash in. I am frozen through and wasting away…. But God sees all things and I trust in him.”

Our key Scripture for today could have been spoken by Pope St Martin I: "Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony." (John 3: 11). For the past 2000 years, saints and martyrs following the example of Jesus have been persecuted for speaking the truth they know. The adversaries have no answers to refute them. But like Pilate, Herod, Henry VIII, Hitler and Stalin they had brute force and they responded accordingly. The brutal persecution did not stop the Gospel from spreading.

"You, O Christ, are the faithful witness [Martyr], the First-born from the dead, you have loved us and have washed away our sins with your blood. (Cf Revelation 1: 5).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Now that you have been born anew, know your privileges.

"Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” (John 3: 3).

Monday 12th April 2021, in the 2nd Week of Easter.

Jesus was born, lived and died to establish the Kingdom of God.

Jesus answered Nicodemus in the AMP translation, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.”

The carnal man is incapable of experiencing spiritual things. He is acquainted only with material carnal things. (Cf Romans 8: 6; 1 Corinthians 2: 14). This is is what Jesus teaches Nicodemus. This is also a truth anyone can bear witness to by reflecting on his acquaintances.

Everything is created twice. The first creation is from the earth and unsurprisingly earthy. The second creation is from above and is heavenly. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the second birth. And this happens when we are baptized. We become born anew and in fact new creation.

Since we died with Christ when we were immersed into the water of Baptism and raised with Christ, let us seek what is above where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. (Cf Colossians 3: 1).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Divine Mercy Sunday. Celebrate Mercy.

"Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  (John 20: 21 - 23).

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Easter, DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY.

The universal Church celebrates today the Solemnity of Divine Mercy. (Always 2nd Sunday of Easter).  Jesus is the Face of Mercy of Abba Father.  Mercy is the name and essence of God the Father revealed to us through His Only Son, Jesus the Christ. The open Heart of Jesus is the symbol and seat of Mercy.  Mercy is promised to all.

To prepare ourselves to receive and retain Mercy, fmthe ABC OF MERCY is very useful.  It is called  ABC because, it is an acronym that can be remembered easily and secondly it is as simple as ABC.

A:  Ask for Mercy.
B:  Be Merciful.
C:  Completely Trust Jesus for Mercy.

God is rich in mercy and is waiting for us to turn to Him to blot out all our sins and receive us in His merciful love.

Mercy, mercy. Nothing but mercy!
"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by."  (Psalm 57: 1)

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. (The Diary 950).
To learn how to recite the Divine Mercy Rosary, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/10/how-to-recite-divine-mercy-rosary.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, April 09, 2021

Everyone in the world has not heard the Good News. It is urgent they do.

"Jesus said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16: 15).

Easter Saturday 10th April in the Octave of Easter.

I like the way the AMPC translation renders the Great Commission, our key Scripture for today.

"And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race]." (AMPC).

Preaching and publishing become synonymous in the verse. A lot of evangelization today is done through all types of publishing media: blogs, podcasts, videos and zoom apps, newspapers and magazines, radio and television. All are necessary to bring the Good News that has become urgent to everyone, everywhere in the world. Our task is not done until the whole human race has heard the amazing grace of Jesus Christ, the Good News.

Abba Father wills that everyone must come to the knowledge of truth and repentance. He equipped the Church for this mission by sending down the Awesome Holy Spirit to drive this mission. We see the power of the Holy Spirit in the powerful testimony of Peter and John before the entire Supreme Court of Israel in the first Reading:
"Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4: 19 - 20).

With the Holy Spirit, we have all we need to fulfill the Great Commission. May the Lord grant us success. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Come and have breakfast.

"Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.”  So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish." (John 21: 5 - 6).

Easter Friday 9th April in the Octave of the Solemnity of Easter.

Our Gospel of today (John 21: 1 - 14) is one of my favorite passages in the Gospel. It is one of the post Resurrection appearances of Jesus to His brothers. He seeks them out everywhere to be with them and encourage them. Why do I find this passage comforting?

#1. As an independent contractor salesman, I know what it means to toil the whole week and catch nothing. Isn't it comforting to know that Jesus knows the hideouts of all the fish? The fishermen obeyed the advice of the stranger on the shore and their disappointment was turned into joy and faith.

#2. “Come, have breakfast.” Jesus invited the Apostles and there was an unforgettable party there and then.

Can thunder strike twice in the same place? Jesus reveals Himself to His disciples through familiar words and actions. John was the first to make the connection of this miraculous catch of fish to the earlier incident.

How do you recognize the presence of God in situations in your daily life? God is constantly invading our spaces trying to catch our attention. Learn how to receive these impressions.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Shalom and Witnesses.

"You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 48).

Easter Thursday 8th April in the Octave of Easter.

Jesus said two weighty and important things to His disciples gathered in the Upper Room the very Sunday of the Resurrection:

#1. “Peace be with you.” (Luke 24: 36).
#2. "You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 48).

Peace is the dominant post Resurrection greeting of Jesus. Peace here means Shalom, the sum total of all graces and mercies flowing from the heart of God to men of good will who are now fully redeemed by the death and Resurrection of Jesus. No more recriminations or remembrance of denials and cowardly flight from the scene of the crime. All sins are washed away. Enjoy My Shalom!

At the end of His brief speech, the Risen Lord said: "You are witnesses of these things." "You" means we Christians singing the Easter Alleluia are His witnesses. We are to bear testimonies with our life and work to Jesus, to His Good News. As we bear testimony to the power of the name of Jesus with faith, miracles will happen as we hear in the first Reading Acts 3: 11 - 26.

"O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him,
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, alleluia." (1 Peter 2: 9).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Why did Jesus have to suffer before His Glorification?

"And Jesus said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24: 25 - 26).

Easter Wednesday 7th April 2021, in the Octave of Easter.

Our Lord and Teacher, Jesus Christ called the two disciples He met on road to Emmaus foolish and slow of heart. Why? Cleopas and his companion were foolish because they did not believe faithful and credible witnesses in Jerusalem that Jesus has risen from the dead. Although they were ignorant men as far as knowledge of Scripture, they trusted more in their judgment than their leaders. Are you one of those who believe you know more than your pastors and Bishops?

Jesus also called the two men "slow of heart" which means sluggish in mind and dull of perception. It is possible that their minds envisioned a worldly Messiah that will make them rich but were closed to any other possibilities.

The truth of the matter is that there is a divine necessity that Jesus must suffer before He enters into His glory. What is a divine necessity for Jesus is a divine necessity for Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, John the Baptist, You and me.
No cross, no crown. No trial, no triumph! It is a very hard lesson for many of us to learn. The sooner one embraces this great and inevitable truth of our faith, the more he enjoys the promises of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Monday, April 05, 2021

How Mary Magdalene became the "Apostle to the Apostles".

"Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her." (John 20: 18).

Tuesday 6th April, Easter Tuesday in the Octave of the Solemnity of Easter.

Jesus said to her [Mary Magdalene], “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” The Lord said to Mary again:
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

Who is this woman, Mary Magdalene?

#1. Certainly not the wife of Jesus as alleged by the silly Da Vinci Code.
#2. Probably the woman of Mark 16: 9 who had 7 demons expelled from her. Once released from demonic oppression, Mary clung tightly to Jesus.
#3. Jesus and His disciples received no salary, stipends or gifts for their ministry. How did they survive? Mary of Magdala headed a group of women who supplied the needs of Jesus and the disciples from their resources.
#4. Mary Magdalene stood with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostle John under the Cross and witnessed the agony of the Crucified from the very beginning to the end.
#5. Jesus rewarded Mary to be the first eyewitness to see Jesus after His Resurrection. He commissioned Mary to take the great news to His brothers. Any wonder Mary is called the "apostle to the apostles."

What are the lessons from the profile of Mary Magdalene?
Mary has a heart that returns love for love. She never forgets a favor done to her. Mary Magdalene is one of my patron saints. I pray through her intercession for the grace to know the Heart of Jesus intimately, to love Him passionately and to follow Him everywhere.

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 04, 2021

My brothers and sisters will be My witnesses.

"Then Jesus said to them [Mary Magdalene and the other Mary], “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28: 10).

Monday 5th April 2021, Easter Monday in the Octave of Easter.

What does it mean for Jesus to call us brother /sister? Do you realize that Jesus entrusted the very life of Christianity to the testimony of men and women He called brothers and sisters? They are His brothers and sisters because He knows them very well. They are His witnesses because He considered them faithful, true and credible.

The brothers and sisters of Jesus are to testify to the world the knowledge and work of Jesus. As they witness to these truths, miracles happen because "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19: 10).

2000 years after the Resurrection, brothers and sisters continue to be added to the community of the saints. On Holy Saturday Easter Vigil Service, hundreds of thousands were baptized all over the world and millions renewed their Baptismal Vows. Don't forget these events. Keep them in mind through commitment to daily prayer and word of God and Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as you can.

"The Lord has risen from the dead, as he said; let us all exult and rejoice, for he reigns for all eternity, alleluia." (Entrance Antiphon).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord.

"Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead." (John 20: 8 - 9).

Easter Sunday 2021, Sunday of the glorious Resurrection of the Lord.

When Peter and John entered the empty tomb, they saw what gave them a pause and serious matter for reflection. Jesus was not in the tomb. But the burial clothes were neatly arranged as if the person simply slipped through the clothes without disturbing them in any way. John observed this and concluded that there could be only one explanation: Jesus has risen from the dead.

This incident explains why Jesus forecast His passion and death and none of the disciples remembered this when the events were unfolding. "They did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead." (John 20: 9).

Have you observed anything that make you believe that Jesus is risen and alive?  For me, there are two incontrovertible reasons to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus:

#1. The existence of the Church.
#2. The self-sacrificing work of missionaries all over the world for 2000 years.

How about you?

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Friday, April 02, 2021

Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter.

“Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him." (Mark 16: 6).

Sunday 4th April 2021, Easter Sunday Vigil.

Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James became the first witnesses of the Resurrection and were commissioned to "go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you."

Jesus Christ our Passover has been sacrificed and has risen from the dead. He is Jesus, Emmanuel God with us. Come let us adore Him. Come let us receive Him in the Eucharist.

"The Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
To him be glory and power
for all the ages of eternity, alleluia, alleluia." (Luke 24: 34; Cf Revelation 1: 6).

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Good Friday 2021

“We do not have the right to execute anyone.” (John 18: 31).

Friday 2nd April 2021, Good Friday.

The Jewish leaders sees the death of Jesus on the Cross as the execution of a criminal.  “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”
How do you see the death of Jesus on the Cross?

"It is love "to the end" that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now "the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died." (CCC 616).

We adore You O Christ and worship You because of Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Good Friday 2021 is Also First Friday in April 2021. Honor too the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


April 2nd, 2021 First Friday in April.
Friday April 2nd 2021 is also the Good Friday of the Lord's Crucifixion and Death.

Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 4th month of the year 2021, we look at Promise #4.

#4.  "They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death."

The key word in this promise to me is DEATH.  Do you find the subject of death troubling?

I consider Promise #4 a great Promise.  St Augustine says:  "If you pray well, you live well. If you live well, you die well. If you die well, all is well."  To die well therefore is what every human being must desire.  Most of the post Ascension apparitions of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary to mystics promise succor at the time of the last struggle of death to those who honor them in the manner they specified.  The Church declared St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin, patron saint of a Happy Death.  I believe in the Resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. The thought of dying no longer scares me.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

This is the Example I give you: Serve one another.

"If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.  I have given you a model [example] to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." (John 13: 14 - 15).

Thursday 1st April 2021, Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Jesus gives us a new commandment this evening:  "Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13: 34). This new commandment is now enfleshed in an unforgettable Example. Consider for a moment the power of example, testimony and biography. The three which are synonymous are unparalleled way of teaching. It works for kids. It works for their parents.

Jesus the Lord and Teacher of the Apostles just washed the dirty feet of the astounded Apostles and then called it an example. After dodging this experience in Maundy Thursday services, I finally got the import when a Deacon washed my feet during a Holy Thursday service. Here is the impact it had on me: I now wash dirty dishes for others easily. I clean the bathroom. And a few other small things.
The washing of the feet of the Apostles was a profound act of humility on the part of Jesus. While I am still battling my pride and animosities, the example of washing my feet in full view of the packed Church on Holy Thursday is not an event I can forget easily.

Many Catholics say No firmly when they are asked to come forward to have their feet washed on Holy Thursday Liturgy. Can you imagine the grace you may be missing?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

My appointed time has come.


“My appointed time draws near." (Matthew 26 :18).

Wednesday 31st March 2021, in Holy Week.

Towards the end of His life, Jesus reveals more and more the testimony of Sacred Scripture about the gathering storm of His passion and death. About Judas, he said, "The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed." (Matthew 26: 24). Jesus ministry is framed around "appointed time," "fullness of time." There may be a number of reasons why Jesus at this time wants to anchor His disciples on the testimony of Scripture about Him and His mission.

#1. His death would shatter whatever faith the disciples had in Him. It therefore became necessary that they learn that He is the Lord of history and knew everything that would happen in His passion.

#2. The disciples would see too that He entered His passion and death freely of His own accord. He was not trapped in Gethsemane and arrested as a helpless fugitive from justice.

Paul wrote that Christ died and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures, that is, according to the plan of God. As we approach the Easter Triduum, our faith in Jesus as both God who knows the past and as Man who manifested fear in Gethsemane of His suffering should grow.

"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19: 10). Jesus testifies that Scripture is the word of God and worthy of our veneration and faith. What Scripture prophesies must come true. Scripture prophesies what Jesus did in His public ministry. When you share the testimonies of the miraculous in the work of Jesus, you create a condition for a new miracle. What Jesus has done once, He can replicate.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, March 29, 2021

You are Peter. I am Peter. We are all Peter.

"Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”  (John 13: 38).

Tuesday 30th March 2021, in Holy Week.

Peter is to say three times before the cock crows that he does not even know Jesus.  

What is the lesson for us? Come to Jesus in your utter weakness. He knows you deeply. Forget your foolish pride and come to him broken, needy and miserable. This kind of state is what touches profoundly the merciful heart of Jesus.  Without Jesus what can we offer faced with the crushing challenges of life? Fear, worry, doubt, cowardice and weakness.

You are Peter. I am Peter. We are all Peter. Let us not be ashamed to follow Jesus in our weakness. He knows us intimately and He is happy with us that way.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Woman and a very expensive perfume.

"Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil." (John 12: 3).

Monday 29th March 2021, in Holy Week.

The Gospel for today shows Mary's extravagant devotion and love for Jesus. A very expensive perfume was broken and poured on the feet of Jesus. Then Mary squatting in front of Jesus started to wipe the feet of Jesus with her untied long hair. All this happened in full view of the guests who gazed in amazement.

There was a time I felt embarrassed to show public homage to Jesus. For example, genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament or making the sign of the Cross in a restaurant before meal. Do you ever feel this way? Or are you as strong as Mary in your devotion and commitment to Jesus?

Mary teaches us in today's Gospel that nothing is too costly for Jesus. Jesus accepted this homage.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

"Those preceding him [Jesus] as well as those following kept crying out:
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11: 9 - 10).

Sunday 28th March 2021, is the Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.

Notice the enthusiastic Hosanna. Hosanna sang by the jubilant crowd? Why did they sing? Why did they spread their clothes on the way that Jesus would pass.
First, they recognized Jesus as the Son of David and Heir to the promised throne of the Davidic dynasty. But unfortunately, they misunderstood the nature of the kingdom that Jesus came to found or how it would come about. Not by clash of steel but by crucifixion.

Why did Jesus accept the homage that He had previously refused? The time had come when the Jewish leaders must know that Jesus is indeed the Messiah and the King of the Jews. Riding on a colt into Jerusalem shows clearly that the nature of His kingship and kingdom will be radically different from that of Caesar.

As we enter the holiest week of the Year, consider walking along with Jesus the Way of the Cross through the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Saints and Popes have said that the Holy Rosary is probably the smartest way to know the mysteries of the Life of Jesus Christ. Here are the five Sorrowful Mysteries :
I. The Agony in the Garden.
II. The Scourging at the Pillar.
III. The Crowning with Thorns.
IV. The Carrying of the Cross.
V.  The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.

Have a grace-filled Holy Week.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

He must die.

"He [Caiaphas] did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God." (John 11: 51 - 52).

Saturday 27th March 2021, in the 5th Week in Lent.

The prophecy of the high priest Caiaphas that Jesus must die for the salvation of all mankind reminds us of the encounter of Jesus after His Resurrection with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus said that Scripture testifies that the Messiah would suffer and die and would rise again.

God permitted the compromised high priest Caiaphas to add his prophetic voice to the testimony of Scripture. As we prepare to enter the holiest week of the year, may we be nourished by the truth of Sacred Scripture. May our faith in the plan of God for our lives be strengthened. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Know who I am by my works and fruits of my life.

"If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize [and understand] that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 10: 37 - 38).

Friday 26th March 2021, in the 5th Week in Lent.

The enemies of Jesus were not just ignorant of the ways of God, they also suffer from unbelief. Unbelief may be the deadliest sin in the Bible. Unbelief could be described as seeing the sun shining and you maintain that it is total darkness. The Israelites saw the work of God in the Red Sea. They ate manna and drank fresh water in the desert and still refused to believe in God's goodness and power.

Jesus appealed to His work. The Jews should know the works of the Messiah from the Scriptures. Healing, casting out demons, feeding the masses, raising the dead, teaching and preaching should make someone of good will examine the claims of Jesus more deeply before rejecting Him. They refused to believe His works and paid  very costly consequences. No miracle. No participation in the fruits of salvation were available to the unbelieving group.

The Bible urges us to beware of the deadly sin of unbelief. Unbelief leads to the sin of rebellion like in Massah and Meribah. (Cf Ps 95).

When we look at Jesus as a faithful and credible witness, we cannot but note the quality of His life style. A tree is known by its fruits says Jesus. The fruits everybody can see from the life of Jesus are: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness and more. These are the very fruits by which a Christian can be recognized in the world.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

"Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and his name will be called Emmanuel." (Isaiah 7: 14).

Thursday 25th March 2021, in the 5th Week in Lent is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

The first Annunciation of the Lord probably took place in about 730s BC in the prophecy of Isaiah announcing the momentous event. Nobody could have imagined in the intervening 700 plus years that the birth of the Emmanuel would mean the physical Incarnation of God amongst us.

What does it mean to you that God became a little baby, suckled by a woman, raised as any other little boy and trained by the foster father as apprentice carpenter? It boggles the imagination. Like Ahaz, the complacent king of Israel when Isaiah made the prophecy, you might sigh and say: "Please leave me alone."  Let us consider a few of the consequences of the truth that God becomes Emmanuel and Emmanuel is 100% God and 100% man.

#1. The curse of Adam was canceled.
#2. Salvation becomes the right and privilege of All people and not just one ethnic group or nation.
#3. The Church was founded and became a New Nation where All mankind is welcome.
#4. The Holy Spirit promised by prophets actually descended on the gathered Church and dwelt in men and women giving them the hope of salvation and empowering them to take the good news of salvation to all the nations.
#5. Jesus became truly Son of God and Son of Mary. Mary became after our Eternal High Priest and Intercessor-in-Chief Jesus, the most important intercessor for mankind.

And Mary said: Be it done to me according to Your Plan. And the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Truth shall make you free.

"Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31 - 32).

Wednesday 24th March 2021, in the 5th Week in Lent.

How does the truth set us free?
First, believe in Jesus. "I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God. Born of Virgin Mary. Suffered under Pontius Pilate. Was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day, He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From here, He will come to judge the living and the dead."

Now that we know who Jesus is and what He has done, the next step is abide or remain in Jesus. How? Through prayers, being nourished daily by His word, receiving Him in Holy Communion when you can, making use of the Sacrament of Penance when you fail, engaged in ministry and deepening the knowledge of the Faith through study.

When you commit to the above, you come to know the truth that sets you free from fears, worries and doubts. Sets you free from compulsive behaviors.

The Church teaches: "Ignorance of God is the principle and explanation of moral deviations."  (CCC 2087). St Isidore of Seville writes that "Ignorance nourishes vices and is the mother of all errors." Jerome: "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ."

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Monday, March 22, 2021

The Feast of St Toribius of Mogrovejo

"The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” (John 8: 29).

Tuesday 23rd March 2021, in the 5th Week in Lent is the feast of St Turibius of Mogrovejo (1538 - 1606). Spanish. Missionary Bishop and Archbishop of Lima, Peru. St Turibius spoke up for the rights of the native peoples of South America and defended them against the rapacious instincts of the Spanish colonizers. The Archbishop saint is remembered in history for his unwavering love of truth.

Jesus delights to do the will of His Father at all times because the Father is always with Him. His relationship with Abba Father is intimate. We see this in His prayer life, teaching and ministry in general.

Who are you inclined to please always? Wife, husband, children, boss? Many people because of job insecurity or desire to make rapid progress in their career choose to please the Caesar. No material condition is permanent. We know that the Caesar may be overthrown. The husband may walk away. Health may decline without warning.

For Jesus, pleasing the Father always, everywhere and in everything was not an occasional election. It is a way of life. And it should be the same for us. Why?
"Father, in Your will is our peace!"

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Two women surprised by mercy.

"Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.” (John 8: 10 - 11).

Monday 22nd March 2021, in the 5th Week in Lent.

Today's first Reading and the Gospel celebrate Divine Mercy and Divine Intervention. Call it the Story of two women: Susanna and the woman caught in the act of adultery. Susanna was framed up by two lustful old judges who wanted her condemned to death as a cover up for their attempted rape. The woman in the Gospel (John 8: 1 - 11) was guilty.

Susanna and the Adulterer were surprised by Mercy. Divine intervention at the nick of time through Daniel saved Susanna's life. Jesus became the Face of Mercy for the Adulterer who gazed into the Face of God and heard these words:  “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

The Bible has many examples of the merciful love of God. When you hear this testimony of mercy, put yourself in the place of the beneficiary of mercy and claim it for yourself.
"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19: 10).
What does this mean? Scripture is filled with examples of mercies and miracles that you can claim as prophecy, that is divine promise to you.  I discovered this incredible truth recently and it is changing the way I read Scriptures.

"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 20, 2021

The seed that does not die remains a single seed.

"Amen, Amen I say to you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single grain. But if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12: 24).

Sunday 21st March 2021, in the 5th Week in Lent.

Our key Scripture for the 5th Sunday of Lent poses an existential question to each of us:
Do you want to be a single impotent seed on the shelf or do you trust in Jesus and die to yourself and produce a rich harvest of seeds - thousands upon thousands?

How does the seed produce multitude of seeds? It is buried in the ground. You too must be buried in the ground. How?
#1. You must embrace the way of Jesus. It is a vital necessity for Jesus to suffer before He inherits His kingdom. (Cf Luke 24: 26).
This is the will of the Father and the way that Jesus embraced. Must it be different for us?

#2. What  obstacles  are preventing you from making a full commitment to Jesus? Career, family, health, finance, etc? Consider who gave you all these gifts in the first place.

#3. We must learn and be strengthened by the examples of the Saints. They are family now enjoying the vision of God in Heaven and continuous beautiful music. Do you know that sweet music is the one thing we have on earth that we will find in Heaven? 

What will happen if you refuse to fall on the ground, die and multiply? You will abide alone. Where? You guess it.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, March 19, 2021

Why is Jesus still a cause of divisions?

"So a division occurred in the crowd because of him [Jesus]." (John 7: 43).

Saturday 20th March 2021, in the 4th Week in Lent.

As Jesus embarked in His public ministry, dissension and division followed Him everywhere. No surprise at all because Simeon prophesied this to Mary and Joseph in the Temple during the Presentation of Jesus.

"Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted." (Luke 2: 34).

Jesus was born to be a sign of contradiction. This is true while he was walking the muddy terrain of Galilee as it is today, 2000 years after He ascended into Heaven. Let us consider the cause of dissensions about Jesus in 2021:

#1. Ignorance: The dissenters in the days of Jesus could have easily learned that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and not in Nazareth. They did not care to find out. "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ." (St Jerome).

#2. Today, people can look at the religious terrain in Christianity and ask: Did Jesus truly found 60,000 churches?  They don't ask because they are comfortable with the present arrangement.

#3. The doctrine of Jesus is too harsh and restrictive. Why can't people destroy babies in the womb if they choose to or marry whoever  they wish?

#4. Who is this Jesus to tell us how to live our lives?

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted," proclaims prophecy. The Day of reckoning is coming. It came for the Jews in 70 AD. It will come for everyone sooner than later.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Feast of St Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her." (Matthew 1: 20).

Friday 19th March 2021, in the 4th Week in Lent, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of St Joseph, the Spouse of the Immaculate Virgin.

Contemplate the Christmas crib for a moment. We see the Woman, Mary and then the Infant Jesus lying in the feeding trough of lambs. Who is the man standing still and upright gazing at the Baby quietly? Our key Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew identifies him as: "Joseph, son of David."

Here is what we know about Joseph:
#1. Joseph is from the royal line of David.
#2. A carpenter by trade and a man of humble means.
#3. He is a just and honest man.
#4. Because it was not good for a woman with child to be alone, God chose Joseph to provide for Mary and Jesus; to protect them and to be foster father to Jesus and raise Him up in virtue and manly manners.

Joseph excelled in all the roles that Divine Providence entrusted to him.

Joseph is the patron saint of the Church and a powerful intercessor for the Church and us all. He is also the patron saint of a happy death. Do you know that we are in the Year of St Joseph? The Holy Father, Pope Francis proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. To read the Apostolic Letter and see how to receive all the blessings and indulgences, click the link below:

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20201208_patris-corde.html

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Feast of the Master Catechist, St Cyril of Jerusalem.

"But Moses implored the Lord, his God, saying, “Why, O Lord, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand?" (Exodus 32: 11).

Thursday 18th March 2021, in the 4th Week in Lent is the feast of St Cyril of Jerusalem. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. (315 - 386). St Cyril was the Archbishop of Jerusalem when the Arian heresy disturbed the peace of the Church all over the Roman Empire.

Cyril vigorously defended the unchangeable teachings of the Church. For this, he suffered multiple exiles from the See of Jerusalem. St Cyril is recognized in history by his catechetical works. He prepared multitudes of Catechumens to receive Baptism and helped the Neophytes after Easter to grow in the faith. What is really providential in the work and legacy of San Cyrillo is that he documented his teachings which have come to us. His writings of over 1600 years ago prove that the Catholic Church is the same in teachings and beliefs in late 300s as she is today. Nothing has changed.

Our key Scripture for today presents us with one of the most important subject in religion. At the very heart of religion is Intercession. Intercession means standing in the gap for an offender and pleading that his sins or crimes be forgiven or that the offender be given a reduced sentence. Intercession or mediation is the most important task of priests. Jesus Christ, our Eternal High Priest is our Chief Intercessor. In the first Reading, we see Moses as the intercessor.

"Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self.." ( Exodus 32: 13). Moses reminds God.

Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel and all the prophets were all intercessors. When you pray for your spouse and children, you are an intercessor. At that moment, you are a priest in the family. What is the best outcome of the prayer of intercession?

"So the Lord changed his mind about the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people." (Exodus 32: 14). Prayer moves God.

Anchor your prayer of intercession on the promises of God. Where do you find these promises? In the Bible? God's promises are our armor and protection. (Cf Psalm 91: 4).

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

St Patrick, a Missionary Hero.

"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49: 15).

Wednesday 17th March 2021, the feast of St Patrick. (389 - 461). British-Irish. Bishop and great Missionary. Patron saint of Ireland and Nigeria. St Patrick teaches us that persistence in prayer breaks resistance. St Patrick had a great desire to become a priest. He was opposed by powerful clerics because he was considered too old and not able to withstand the rigors of the studies involved. Convinced by the intensity of his desire, he persisted. Result: St Patrick is one of the most powerful priests that ascended the Altar of God. 

Our key Scripture for today uses a strong feminine metaphor to describe God's love for us. A woman suffering from postpartum insanity can forget the child of her womb. But God says that He is unable to forget us.

Our saint of today, St Patrick is one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the Church. Born British, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and forced to work for years as a slave. There were times Patrick believed that God had forsaken and forgotten him. His life of prayer helped him to overcome his pessimism and to understand that God's love for him is stronger than any mother could possibly love his son. Some of us may have experienced some period of great trial and may have asked: "O God, where are You?" We remember Jesus' cry from the Cross.

God's plan for us allows hardships in order to equip us adequately for our future mission. "Accept your trials as discipline from a Father training you as a son." (Cf Hebrews 12: 7). Think of Joseph in Egypt, David, Jacob, Daniel.

God promises: "Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you." (Isaiah 49: 8).

God is faithful and will answer us in His time of favor. In the fullness of time, He makes everything beautiful. (Cf Ecclesiastes 3: 11).
The experience of St Patrick and all the heroes of our Faith mentioned above vindicates this.

Wait for the Lord. Be strong and wait for the Lord.

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Monday, March 15, 2021

Jesus is passing by and asking: Do you want to be healed?

"When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” (John 5: 6).

Tuesday 16th March 2021, in the 4th Week in Lent.

Once upon a time, I struggled with alcohol abuse. I kept it secret and tried everything I knew to heal myself. Persistence did not break the resistance of the demons holding me captive. Then one Saturday afternoon, in the Sacrament of Penance, I confessed this same sin again. As I got to the pew and knelt down to do my penance, I heard distinctly an inner voice: "If you want, I can heal you." I said: "Yes Lord. Heal me." I have not touched a drop of alcohol since that day. It has been over 25 years.

Our Gospel of today records the encounter of Jesus with a crippled man. Jesus knew he had been in this condition for 38 years. What the man did not know was that Jesus was not there by chance or accident. Jesus had a divine appointment with the Crippled on that day and place and time. Happily the crippled man was ready and received his healing.

We are saved by grace through faith. The day Jesus freed me from the oppression of alcohol by His merciful love, I received a free gift but I cooperated with Jesus like the crippled man by saying "Yes Lord. Heal me."

Where do you need healing in your life? Jesus is always passing by. Are you ready for Him?

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Sunday, March 14, 2021

This is the kind of faith and obedience we need.

"Jesus said to him [Royal Official], “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and left." (John 4: 50).

Monday 15th March 2021, in the 4th Week in Lent.

Our faith contains our obedience. We see the example in the Gospel of today. To say that "I believe" and act contrary to what you believe is not faith but hypocrisy.

In our key Scripture for today, we see an example of faith. Faith is the radical trust and confidence in the word of Christ.
“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed."

If any Christian invests time and resources to learn what Faith is and how Faith works, the harvest will be incredibly huge and this gift will keep giving and giving all your life.

Consider Faith as Obedience. The Royal Official heard Jesus say: Don't worry. Go home. Your son is OK. He believes and went home. He obeyed the directive. No questions. No arguments. Are you able to imitate his action and show the Obedience of Faith?

Consider also that the man's faith was prepared by what he heard about Jesus before he met Him.
"When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death."

When we read the Gospel, we see many healings and miracles. The stories are preparing us to believe and deepen our Faith in Jesus. You do not know when you will stand face to face with Jesus needing His help. Faith comes from hearing. Hearing the word of God and believing it.

"As for me, I trust in the Lord.  Let me be glad and rejoice in your mercy, for you have seen my affliction." (Psalm 31: 7 - 8).

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Saturday, March 13, 2021

How were you saved?

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2: 8).

Sunday, March 14th 2021, 4th Week in Lent. This Sunday is called Laetare Sunday, that is: Rejoice Sunday! We have made it to the mid point of Lent. It is a good reason to be joyful.

On the surface, our Scripture verse for today appears simple. But if you can grasp the meaning of Ephesians 2: 8, the insight and light you get will transform your life. You become a new creation freed from the anxiety of how you are doing in your Christian walk.  You come to depend totally on He who gave you freely the gift to become a Christian and the faith to say Yes that Jesus is Lord and Savior.

God looks upon us with merciful love. You remember how the Father of the Prodigal looked upon his emaciated, badly clad and dirty son. He embraced him with loving and tender kindness. Did his son deserve the princely welcome he received? Not at all. This is what happened to you and me. Whether we received salvation through Baptism as infants or later in life, the story is the same. We are saved through God's unmerited favor. No hard work, no striving of ours produced it.

The initiative is 100% from God. Our acceptance of this offer is what is called Faith.
"Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit." (CCC 154), teaches the Church.

Those who refuse to believe in the proclamation of the Gospel for whatever spurious reason are in a bad place. Why? Belief in a credible source and information is a totally human phenomenon teaches the same paragraph 154 of the CCC.

Rejoice therefore in the free gift of salvation and do not grieve the Holy Spirit by your actions. Rather allow the Holy Spirit to transform your minds so that in everything you will discern the will of God and not imitate or conform to the behaviors of unsaved people around you who do not know that this world is passing away.

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Friday, March 12, 2021

Humility is a condition for mercy.

"But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner."
(Luke 18: 13).

Saturday 13th March 2021, in the 3rd Week in Lent.

God is rich in mercy. The Scriptures of today's Liturgy are rich in Mercy themes. This is not an accident. Without God's merciful love, no person will be saved. The mistake of the Pharisee in today's Gospel is the mistake that most of us make without knowing it. The Church teaches us to keep the Commandments, to pray and do good works. Many of us try to do all these things and maybe more. It is natural that when we stand before God, we hope that He will remember all that we do.

But God sees us through a different lens: He sees us through His eyes of mercy. Remember Jesus encounter with the "man full of leprosy" who approached Him for healing. "Yes, I want to heal you." And Jesus touched the man. If you can imagine yourself as the woman or man full of leprosy when you approach God for mercy and healing, you will receive what you ask for.

Let us observe a couple of things about the tax collector:
He does not raise his eyes to heaven. He beat his chest, a sign of repentance and sorrow. The Church makes us repeat this gesture when we say the Confiteor (I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters... " Humility is a condition for receiving mercy.

We cannot think of mercy without remembering the teachings of Jesus on mercy. Mercy is given to whoever asks for mercy no matter the sin. But he who receives mercy must extend mercy.

I like this Fatima Rosary Prayer:
"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead ALL souls to Heaven especially those in most need of Your mercy."
When you say this prayer, you become like a beggar who tells another beggar where you found bread. ABC of Mercy:
#1. Ask for mercy.
#2. Be merciful.
#3. Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, March 11, 2021

What does God love?

"He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  (Mark 12: 32 - 33).

Friday 12th March 2021, in the 3rd Week in Lent.

Our key Scripture is from a Doctor of the Law who wanted Jesus to confirm his understanding of the first and greatest commandment of the Law. Jesus was impressed with his answer and encouraged him to stay close to the kingdom of God.

What does it mean to love God with all our heart? I like the explanation of St Catherine of Siena:
To love God with all one's heart means to love what God loves.

What does God love? This is not a tough question if you read the word of God every day.
God loves obedience to His commandments. He loves those who are merciful to orphans, widows and strangers. He loves those who honor Him on the Lord's Day (Sunday).

Ask God in your prayers to reveal to you what He loves.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The People refused to listen to God.

"Thus says the Lord:  "This rather is what I commanded them: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk exactly in the way I command you, so that you may prosper." (Jeremiah 7: 23).

Thursday 11th March 2021, in the 3rd Week in Lent.

Our key Scripture today comes from Jeremiah 7: 23. It is a stark call to return to obedience. We are all familiar with this Scripture:  "Obedience is better than sacrifice. The attentive ear better than the fat of rams. Disobedience is like witchcraft."

Our Responsorial Psalm 95 shows us 5 ways we should respond to God's call to Obedience this Lent and enjoy the peace and prosperity God promises in our key Scripture:

#1." Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation." God delights in songs.
#2. "Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving."
#3. "Let us joyfully sing psalms to him." Consider the Liturgy of the Hours.
#4. Come, let us bow down in worship." Use your body to worship God. Bow, genuflect and kneel.
#5. "Let us kneel before the Lord who made us."

"Oh, that today you would hear his voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert." (Cf Psalm 95).

Lent is the time of favor and abundant mercy.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Who are the greatest in the Kingdom of God?

"Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 19).

Wednesday 10th March 2021, in the 3rd Week in Lent.

Would there be hierarchy of saints in Heaven? Matthew 5: 19 seems to say, definitely. The teaching and practice of the Church has always expressed this. Jesus is glorified when we honor His saints. One of the most beautiful creeds of the Church is: "I believe in the Communion of the Saints."

The Communion of Saints is made up of the Church Militant (the baptized, active in spiritual warfare on earth),  the Church Suffering (the poor souls undergoing purification in Purgatory), and the Church Triumphant (Saints in Heaven).

Every saint in Heaven is not born equal. Hence the Church in its Liturgy stresses beliefs like the following: "The Church honors particularly the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph, the Apostles, Martyrs..."
These are people who  obeyed and taught God's commandments and are therefore called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Cf Matthew 5: 19).

The Book of the Greatest in Kingdom of Heaven is still open and will not be closed till the Second Coming of Christ. You know the Way to enter it. The reward will be huge and everlasting.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Monday, March 08, 2021

The Feast of St Frances of Rome.

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?" (Matthew 18: 32 - 33).

Tuesday 9th March 2021, in the 3rd Week in Lent is the feast of St Frances of Rome. (1384 - 1440). Italian. A married woman who raised three children in the way of the Lord.  Frances became a Benedictine Oblate and founded a community of Oblates in the heart of Rome. Besides being a wife and mother, Frances was a mystic and very involved in charitable services in Rome. In Frances, we have a unique example of love in marriage as well as in religious life.

Our key Scripture for today deals with trespasses against us which are in our power to forgive. The "Wicked servant" in the NABRE translation is rendered by other versions as: wicked and contemptible slave, contemptible and wicked attendant, evil [wicked] servant [slave]!, You evil servant!, , ‘You scoundrel!

The other servants were deeply outraged by the unmerciful behavior of this servant. Various translators try to convey the feelings to us through the above characterizations. We live in a culture where unforgiveness is rampant.

One thing to note in today's Gospel is crucial: "I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to." What does this mean? The minimum price to pay for Divine Mercy is: ASK. This price is consistent throughout Sacred Scripture. Anyone who asks is forgiven. One who seeks forgiveness is embraced. The door is always open for one who knocks for forgiveness. This is Lent. A most favorable time for mercy and reconciliation. The ABC of Mercy is a tool to remind us of this great truth.

#1. Ask for Mercy.
#2. Be Merciful.
#3. Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, March 07, 2021

The Feast of St John of God.

"Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4: 27).

Monday 8th March 2021, in the 3rd Week in Lent is the feast of St John of God. (1495 - 1550). Religious. Born Portuguese. Worked and died in Spain. A prodigal of some sort in his younger days. Once he was converted at the age of 40, everything changed. He became fired up with ministry to the poor and the sick. John was a man of many talents and at various times became farmer, soldier and merchant. I knew St John of God as a pamphleteer because at the time I first read his biography, I used pamphlets for evangelization. He became my patron saint and is still one of my patron saints.
St John of God is the patron saint of hospitals, nurses, booksellers, pamphleteers.

Our key Scripture for today touches on the profundity of how God works in the world otherwise called the Divine Providence, Divine Plan, Design, Blueprint. Naaman the Syrian is so unlike our saint, John of God. Naaman is a great soldier, like a Field Marshall. He is of the stature of Ike Eisenhower but Naaman was a leper. The story of his cure in the first Reading (2 Kings 5: 1 - 5) is my favorite story in the Bible.

Naaman was Syrian and not Jewish. Yet God extended His merciful love to Naaman and healed him of leprosy.
St John of God was a Portuguese vagrant. God called him to live in Spain where he worked and founded the Order of Brothers Hospitallers of St John of God still serving the Church today.

"Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word, because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption. (Psalm 129: 5, 7).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, March 06, 2021

With joy you will draw water from the well of salvation.

"Jesus answered and said to her [the Samaritan Woman]'  "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4: 10).

Sunday 7th March 2021, in the 3rd Week in Lent.

Jesus talks with the Samaritan Woman in the Gospel for this Sunday. Human thirst like hunger can be unbearable. The People of Israel grumbled against God and Moses in the desert when they were tormented by thirst. (Cf Exodus 17: 3). It is thirst that brought the Samaritan Woman to the Well.

What are you thirsting for today? Jesus helped the Samaritan Woman to develop a thirst for the Big Gift of God.
"With joy you will draw water from the fountains of salvation." (Isaiah 12: 3).
Water is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. God promises us a big Gift, a wonderful Gift in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is so unlike anything we know of. This is how Jesus characterizes the Big Gift:

"Jesus answered and said to her [the Samaritan]  “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 13 - 14 ).

Every Christian who has been baptized in the Holy Spirit has testified that the Big Gift of God exceeds all expectations. Go for the Big Gift. Be fired up by the Holy Spirit.  To learn more about the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/10/gifts-fruits-of-holy-spirit-and.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, March 05, 2021

The Prodigal Son is still in Jail after 8 years!

"You must rejoice, my son,
for your brother was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found." (Luke 15: 32)

Saturday 6th March 2021, in the 2nd Week in Lent.

Are you one of those that feign ignorance of the spirit of Unforgiveness and insane desire for vengeance and retribution in our culture?
A young white male now in his early 30 was caught stealing an inexpensive object about eight years ago. Unfortunately for him, that was his second offense. He is still in jail. The mom, sister to a close friend mourns for him every day. His parole has been opposed by Christians. "He must learn his lesson."

Let us rejoice sister and brother. "Our brother was dead, but he is now alive. He was lost and has now been found.”  It is appropriate to make merry. Do not resent Abba Father because He shows mercy to outrageous sinners.

We must believe firmly in God’s plan of salvation for all people.
I ask you:
What is the significance of the ring, sandals, and robe, the Father of the Prodigal gave to the son? They are symbols of full restoration. What God has restored, you must not dare to condemn.

Abba Father is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in mercy.

To learn more about the Father's merciful love, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/09/abba-father.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

COMPENDIUM OF CATHOLIC TEACHINGS

THE COMPENDIUM OF CATHOLIC TEACHINGS 

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Catholic Treasurers III 

(Can you please share and send this to any Catholic or any Catholic group you know).

1) LEVELS OF CARDINALS:

a. Cardinal deacon

b. Cardinal priest

c. Cardinal bishop

2) CATEGORIES OF CHURCHES:

a. Mission

b. Out Station

c. Parish

d. Cathedral (Vicariate-diocese-archdiocese)

e. Basilica

3) CATEGORIES OF PRIESTS:

a. Diocesan priest

b. Societan priest (e.g: MSP, SPS, SMA etc)

c. Religious priest (Augustinians, Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, Spiritans etc) 

4) HIERACHY OF THE CHURCH

a. Lay Faithfuls

b. Deacons

c. Priests/religious

d. Bishops

e. Arch-bishops

f. Cardinals

e. Pope (The Vicar of Christ Jesus on Earth)

5) MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH:

a. Cantors

b. Lectors

c. Acolytes 

d. Choir

e. Deacon

f. Priests/religious

g. Bishops

h. Cardinals

i. Pope

6) CATEGORIES OF BISHOPS:

a. Auxiliary Bishop

b. Co-adjustor Bishop

b. Bishop

e. Arch-bishop

7) Categories of Religious:

a. Monks (men)-Nuns (women)

b. Mendicants

c. Hermits

d. Seculars

😎 THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES:

a. Faith

b. Hope

c. Charity

9) TYPES OF PRAYER: 

a. Liturgical prayers: Holy Mass, Divine Office etc.

b. Non-liturgical prayers: Holy Rosary, Prayers to Saints and Angels, private prayers etc.

POSTURES OF PRAYER:

a. Standing

b. Sitting

c. kneeling

d. bowing (it could be simple or deep)

e. genuflecting (it could be single or double)

f. laying 

11) SINS AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST:

a. Presumption

b. Despair

c. Resisting the known truth

d. Envy of another’s spiritual good

e. Obstinacy in sin

f. Final impenitence

12) SINS THAT CRY OUT TO HEAVEN:

a. Willful murder

b. The sin of Sodomy

c. Oppression of the poor

d. Defrauding laborers of their wages

13) CONDITIONS FOR MORTAL SIN:

a. Grave matter

b. Full knowledge

c. Deliberate consent

14) WAYS WE CAN PARTICIPATE IN OTHER PEOPLE’S SINS:

a. By counsel

b. By command

c. By consent

d. By provocation

e. By praise or flattery

f. By concealment

g. By partaking

h. By silence

i. By defense of the ill done

15) THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

a. Thou shall not have other gods besides Me

b. Thou shall not say the Name of the Lord thy God in vain

c. Remember to keep holy the Lord ’s Day

d. Honor thy father and thy mother

e. Thou shall not murder

f. Thou salt not commit adultery (all forms of sexual immoralities are included: masturbation, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, rape, lust etc).

g. Thou shall not steal

h. Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor

i. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife

j. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods

16) THE GREATEST COMMANDMENTS:

a. To love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength.

b. To love thy neighbor as thyself.

17) THE EVANGELICAL COUNSELS:

a. Voluntary poverty

b. Perpetual chastity

c. Entire obedience.

18) THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH/ DUTIES OF A CATHOLIC:

a. To go to Holy Mass and refrain from servile work on Sundays and holy days

b. To go to Confession at least once a year (traditionally done during Lent)

c. To receive the Eucharist at least once a year, during the Easter Season (known as the "Easter duty")

d. To observe the days of fasting and abstinence

e. To help to provide for the needs of the Church according to one's abilities and station in life

f. To obey the marriage laws of the Church

19) THE POWERS OF THE SOUL:

a. Memory

b. Intellect

c. Will

20) THE PILLARS OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH:

a. The Apostles Creed

b. The Seven Sacraments

c. The Ten Commandments

d. The Lord's Prayer

e. The Holy Mass

f. The Holy Rosary

g. The intercession of God’s Angels and Saints

21) PILLARS OF THE CHURCH'S AUTHORITY:

a. Sacred Scripture

b. Sacred Tradition

c. Living Magisterium

22). The Munera (Duties of the Ordained):

a. Munus docendi (duty to teach, based on Christ's role as Prophet)

b. Munus sanctificandi (duty to sanctify, based on Chris's role as Priest)

c. Munus regendi (duty to shepherd, based on Christ's role as King)

23) THE LEVELS OF THE CHURCH:

a. The Church Militant (Christians on Earth)

b. The Church Suffering (Christians in Purgatory)

c. The Church Triumphant (Christians in Heaven)

24) THE MARKS OF THE CHURCH:

a. Unity

b. Sanctity

c. Catholicity

d. Apostolicity

25) THE 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL IN ORDER OF THEIR BIRTH:

a. Reuben

b. Simeon

c. Levi

d. Judah

e. Zabulon

f. Issachar

g. Dan

h. Gad

i. Asher

j. Naphtali

k. Joseph (Menasseh and Ephraim)

l. Benjamin

26) THE BEATITUDES:

a. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

b. Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.

c. Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.

d. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

e. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

e. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

g. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

h. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

27) THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS:

a. Jesus is Condemned to Die

b. Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross

c. Jesus Falls the First Time

d. Jesus Meets His Mother

e. Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

f. Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face

g. Jesus Falls the Second Time

h. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

i. Jesus Falls the Third Time

j. Jesus is Stripped

k. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

l. Jesus Dies on the Cross

m. Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

n. Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

28) THE 20 MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY:

JOYFUL (Mondays and Saturdays):

a. Annunciation

b. Visitation

c. Nativity

d. Presentation

e. Finding Jesus in the Temple

LUMINOUS: (Thursdays)

a. Baptism of Jesus.

b. Manifestation of Jesus at the wedding feast of Cana.

c. Proclamation of the kingdom of God.

d. The Transfiguration.

e. The institution of the Holy Eucharist

SORROWFUL (Tuesdays and Fridays):

a. Agony in the Garden

b. The Scourging

c. Crowning with thorns

d. Carrying of the Cross

e. Crucifixion

GLORIOUS (Wednesdays and Sundays):

a. Resurrection

b. Ascension

c. Pentecost

d. Assumption

e. Coronation 

NB: Throughout the Lenten season, the Sorrowful Mysteries is to be prayed only.

29) CHOIRS OF ANGELS IN ASCENDING ORDER:

a. Angels

b. Archangels

c. Principalities

d. Powers

e. Virtues

f. Dominions

g. Thrones

h. Cherubim

i. Seraphim

30) LEVELS OF REVERENCE:

a. Dulia: the reverence we give to Saints

b. Hyperdulia: the reverence we give to Mary as the greatest of Saints and Mother of God

c. Latria: the reverence and worship we give to God alone

31) THE 14 HOLY HELPERS:

1. St. George, Martyr, April 23

2. St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, February 3

3. St. Pantaleon, Martyr, July 27

4. St. Vitus, Martyr, June 15

5. St. Erasmus (Elmo), Bishop and Martyr, June 2

6. St. Christopher, Martyr, July 25

7. St. Giles, Abbot, September 1

8. St. Cyriacus (Cyriac), Martyr, August 8

9. St. Achatius, Martyr, May 8

10. St. Dionysius (Denis), Bishop and Martyr, October 9

11. St. Eustachius (Eustace), Martyr, September 20

12. St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr, November 25

13. St. Margaret of Antioch, Virgin and Martyr, July 20

14. St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, December 4

32) THE 7 LAST WORDS OF CHRIST:

a. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

b. Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

c. Woman, behold thy son. . . .Behold thy mother. (John 19:26-27)

d. Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? (My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?) (Matthew 27:46, ref. Psalm 21)

e. I thirst. (John 19:28)

f. It is consummated.(John 19:30)

g. Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46, ref. Psalm 30:6)

33) THE 4 LAST THINGS (THE NOVISSIMA):

a. Death

b. Judgment

c. Heaven

d. Hell

34) THE CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY:

a. To feed the hungry

b. To give drink to the thirsty

c. To clothe the naked

d. To shelter the homeless

e. To visit the sick

f. To visit the imprisoned

g. To bury the dead

35) THE SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY:

a. To counsel the doubtful

b. To instruct the ignorant

c. To admonish sinners

d. To comfort the sorrowful

e. To forgive all injuries/offenses

f. To bear wrongs patiently

g. To pray for the living and the dead

36) CLASSES OF GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT KNOWN AS CHARISMATA:

a. Teaching

b. Faith

c. Grace of healing

d. Apostleship

e. Prophecy

37) THE SACRAMENTS:

a. Baptism

b. Confirmation/Chrismation

c. Holy Eucharist

d. Penance (Confession/Reconciliation)

e. Holy Matrimony

f. Holy Order

g. Anointing of the Sick

40) THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:

a. Wisdom

b. Understanding

c. Counsel

d. Fortitude

e. Knowledge

f. Piety

g. Fear of the Lord

41) THE THREE EMINENT GOOD WORKS:

a. Prayer

b. Fasting

c. Alms-giving

42) FRUITS OF THE HOLY GHOST:

a. Charity

b. Joy

c. Peace

d. Patience

e. Benignity

f. Goodness

g. Longanimity

h. Mildness

i. Faith

j. Modesty

k. Continency

l. Chastity

43) CARDINAL VIRTUES:

a. Prudence

b. Justice

c. Fortitude

d. Temperance

44) LITURGICAL SEASONS:

a. Advent

b. Christmas

c. Ordinary Time

d. Lent 

e. Easter

45) THE APOSTLES OF JESUS AND HOW THEY DIED:

a. Matthew: Killed by a sword in Ethiopia.

b. Mark:  He was dragged by horses in Alexandria-Egypt through the streets until he was dead.

c. Luke: Was hanged in Greece.

d. John:  Though he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil in Rome; yet he miraculously did not die has the result but late become the only Apostle to die naturally.

e. Peter: was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to the Church Tradition, it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

f. James: He was beaten to death with a fuller's club.

g. James the Son of Zebedee: He was beheaded at Jerusalem. 

h. Bartholomew: Known as Nathaniel also, was martyred in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

i. Andrew: He was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras-Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.' 

j. Thomas: He was stabbed with a spear.

k. Jude: was killed with arrows.

l. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot was stoned and then beheaded.

m. Paul: He was tortured and then beheaded by Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D 67. 

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From CATHOLIC WORLD in WHATSAPP